Module Three: Where do you hold your fears & what's in your past

What is holding you back from Unfurling? 

Sometimes, in order to move forward, we have to stop and look at where we are right now and where we've been. Working out why we're holding onto the fear of Unfurling is a big help in starting to move forward from those blocks. To know what's holding us back enables us to let go of it. 

This week I'd like you to spend time connecting with your worries, anxieties and fears. Giving them space to speak to you, rather than ignoring them in the hope they'll go away. With the idea that "face your fear and it will disappear", or at least diminish.

During your days please write down any worry or fear, in a few quick simple words, and plan some time at the end of the week to settle down and give focus to a specific worry. By scheduling time, it will free up your week - rather than dwelling on each small fear as it comes up, you can say 'I've scheduled you in' and know that you'll get back to that. 

This isn't about setting time aside for a giant worry session, but more honouring your fears by allowing yourself to properly process them without letting them take over every moment during your days. This gives you space to keep on with your work, and tell the fear to wait a minute please. When you do sit down, look at your list and think about what you were feeling, why and how that fear has come up. With this focussed time you can work on problem-solving through your worries / fears / anxieties rather than simple working them over and over in your mind with no outcome. You'll also notice those small niggling fears don't stack up against something real, so you can learn (slowly slowly) to realise to let those fears go. 

If my kids ever come to me with a worry or fear, I ask them to work through to a solution. Rather than focussing on the problem alone, there is a solution for almost every fear your mind is mulling over. To give voice to fear gives you space to find a solution and work towards sending that fear on it's way.

*If you have any big issues that need to be resolved, please speak to someone about it, or make it a priority to work through to a solution. Anxiety and depression can put a gigantic stress and strain on your creative outlet, as well as your whole life. Financial, emotional, personal and relationship issues can all become too much to bear if you dwell on them.

What challenges in your past have you still not worked through? 

I was listening to something the other day that made me realise that a giant part of why I'm so "ok" with putting myself out there is because of my mother's death. I'm not saying this to make you upset or sad or anything. I think talking about horrible things that happened in our past can be ok. Or at the very least, coming to terms with them. Not holding onto the fear, the depression, the intense sadness or grief or disappointment. But moving through all that. Not moving on and forgetting, but working through it. 

And finding who you are after you've worked out how to work through it. That's the biggest part. 

I know 100% that I would be a different woman today (and indeed different mother) if my own mother was still here. I would take things for granted in a completely different, blase way than I currently do. I possibly, probably (though I don't know) wouldn't have delved down this path as artist..... I do know that inside myself, a lot of my story is about being a motherless-daughter and a motherless-mother.*

But I'm this woman because I haven't held onto the devastation that was the left over of my mother dying so suddenly. I'm not saying this is good or bad, it's just what happened with me compared to with my sisters, who were are different stages of their lives & mothering. I feel that by working through my intense grief and letting it not control me, I was able to come through the challenge and find a voice that includes that part of my story.

*If you happen to be in the same motherless-ness state of life, then you might like reading these books by Hope Edelman

So - what I'm wondering is: what are you holding onto, that may be stopping you from becoming who you could be?

You don't have to share with me or any of us, but if you feel like sharing I'm here listening and open, ready to help you through what challenges you are holding onto. What past, or even current, things are in your life that are affecting who you are. 

When I applied for drama school, fresh out of high school, and didn't get in - I dropped it all. I think for a long time I held onto that sadness, of not becoming the dream of my childhood. I never considered applying for art school, as I didn't think of myself as a traditional artist, in that sense of being a painter. 

Giving myself permission to be an artist, not waiting for a collage or school to give the permission, is the most powerful thing I can do for myself. If you need that permission slip, because you feel you're not a trained, qualified, certified Artist...... then please write yourself one!

Be your best 'art critic'

Gather together five pieces of your creative work, the ones that most represent who you want to be, and put them side by side. Or arrange the photos of them side by side. Look at them as critically as you can, like an arts critic. Analyse them, write down (non-emotionally) their artistic qualities. Now, write down emotionally how they speak to you. 

When ever I analyse my own artwork I remind myself that IT IS INDEED GOOD ART. And it somehow works towards telling those horrible inner bad critics (rather than the good constructive critics) to shut up already. 

Know that it's ok - in fact it's important - to like / love your own work. To say "Hey look at this beautiful, good, interesting, {insert whatever word you like here}, thing I made" without showing off or having to make mockery of yourself.

Finding, and nurturing, your creative ego is vital, without needing to become overly egotistic.